VAYA has started offering relief support to organizations involved in distributing material aid to vulnerable groups and communities affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.
The global pandemic has seen governments in nearly all countries of the world, including Zimbabwe, enforce ‘lockdowns’ intended to arrest the spread of the highly infectious disease.
The lockdowns have however resulted in the unintended consequence of food shortages and the threat of hunger among vulnerable communities – especially in those involved in the informal sector – most of whom are unable to go out and earn their normal day’s wages due to the restrictions on movement.
CleanCity CEO, Mr Lovemore Nyatsine, who is also in charge of VAYA Relief Support, said VAYA Relief Support would help any organization mobilizing relief food and materials for the affected populations.
“We will be providing transport and logistical support to any organisation or civic group that wants to reach out to the community at this time that our nation is battling the COVID-19 epidemic,” said Mr Nyatsine.
“Being already in the kind of business we are in, we felt duty-bound to serve our nation using the assets and capabilities we already possess to help.
“We have previously done this kind of thing during Cyclone Idai, where we set up a logistics warehouse at Silverstream in Chimanimani and deployed our Vaya trucks to distribute food relief and water among the Cyclone victims,” Mr Nyatsine said.
He said VAYA Relief Support has already been providing logistics support to move food relief and to provide clean water to vulnerable communities, working in collaboration with Higherlife Foundation, Gift of Givers and Business Against COVID, among others.
VAYA – which operates passenger transport (mobility) and logistics services – is one of the few key service providers that the government designated an ‘essential service provider’ during the current lockdown in Zimbabwe. Its partners and vehicle fleet are authorized to move freely providing last-mile delivery of passengers and goods to the citizens.
Mr Nyatsine said VAYA Relief Support takes away the headache of logistics and distribution from the donor community. “The donor is left to focus on mobilising resources while VAYA Relief services carry out the distribution,” Mr Nyatsine said. He added that the service would be available countrywide and would include the distribution of foodstuffs, clothing, water and sanitisation materials.
Like most countries of the world, Zimbabwe has been on a lockdown for the past 23 days. Initially forecast to last 21 days, the lockdown was extended by another 14 days by the President on Sunday as efforts to combat the deadly virus continue.